Same Cast, new Script

Kenya: The great Raila Odinga steeplechase

By Son Gatitu

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Posted on December 20, 2021 09:46

Kenyan opposition leader Odinga to unveil 2022 presidential race candidature in Nairobi
Kenya’s Opposition leader Raila Odinga reacts during the Azimio la Umoja (Declaration of Unity) rally to unveil his August 2022 Presidential race candidature at the Moi International Sports centre in Kasarani, Nairobi, Kenya December 10, 2021. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

Longtime Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga has announced his fifth attempt at the presidency in the forthcoming general election slated for August 2022. He has been at the core of Kenyan politics for more than a quarter of a century, but has consistently failed to clinch power in three attempts that successively appeared to be the best shot. What does Raila bring to the table this time round and what hurdles must he jump to finally clinch Kenya’s top seat?

When he turned up at the Kasarani Stadium in Nairobi on 10 December, he had the aura, the crowds, what looked like a presidential smile and a traditional fly whisk to wave at his supporters, who had gathered to listen to him.

The last time a Kenyan politician used a fly whisk was in February 2020 – Raila waved it as he bade goodbye to Kenya’s second President Daniel Moi, whose body lay in state in parliament. Another politician who used the fly whisk was Raila’s father, Jaramogi Oginga, when he bade farewell to Kenya’s founding President Jomo Kenyatta following his death in August 1978.

This time round, however, Raila was not carrying a fly whisk for a state funeral – he was declaring his bid for the presidency. The significance of the fly whisk dates back to the days of Kenya’s first President Jomo Kenyatta, who would greet people with his fly whisk. Oginga was Jomo’s first vice

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